Tag Archives: Siege

HOLY TERROR and Propaganda vs. Storytelling

16 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Can this guy be in a comic book without it being one-sided propaganda? (Hint: YES) (Image via Wikipedia)

There’s a really interesting discussion going on over at the Marvel Masterworks Fan Site forums (in which I’ve participated a bit) over Frank Miller’s Holy Terror and whether it, or Miller, are offensive.

My post there today ended up being much longer and more time-consuming than I’d intended, so there probably won’t be as many site updates here today. I’m going to be lazy and just share some of what I posted there, since I do think it’s worth further discussion (either there or here, whatever you feel like).

Unlike Miller’s comments section (or most comments sections on the ‘net), this thread has inspired a lot of great ideas and points of view about politics and propaganda. And the discussion has broadened into whether comics and other popular media are appropriate tools for depicting polarizing/political figures, or groups of people (like, say, Muslims), and whether said depictions are inherently biased.

From my last post:

Yes, Alex Ross’s Bush/Obama paintings are obviously ridiculous, editorial works that fit perfectly with his approach to superhero cover art and his work on Uncle Sam (the American Dream vs. the cynical, imperfect reality). Ross works in symbols and iconography; I don’t see why anyone would be offended by an artist having a point of view in his work, especially when it’s making a statement about a public figure. To me, that’s the beauty of free speech in America: any public figure deserves all of the praise and criticism people convey in their editorial work, because they’re asking for it. No other country has the same absolute guarantee of this sort of criticism, and that’s the one thing I value about America more than any other.

But editorial cartoons aren’t comic-book stories. The Continue reading

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